I avoided blogging for a long time. And the one time I briefly tried it prior to my current stint at TNR, I hated it. Why? Because something about the form (most likely its instantaneousness) encourages glibness. And the issues I like to write about -- religion, culture, philosophy, political theory -- cannot be addressed thoughtfully or fairly when they are treated glibly. (I'll leave it as an open question whether anything can be addressed thoughtfully or fairly when it is treated glibly.) So I avoided the medium. Until now.
On Tuesday of this week, I posted an item in which I drew connections between an essay by Andrew Bacevich and political authoritarianism. Two days later, I posted a follow-up in which I expanded on the argument. In retrospect -- and in light of some online reaction to the posts -- I've concluded that the connections I made in the original item were overdrawn, and that I made things even worse in the second post. Ideas and arguments can take on a logic of their own, and I foolishly followed the logic of mine into a position several steps more radical than one I really want to defend. I trust that future online disputation and debate will provide many opportunities for me to address these and related issues again -- and so also to stake out and develop a more moderate, nuanced, and genuinely liberal position.